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New instant carbon footprint calculator launched by Tharstern and CarbonQuota

Print Solutions

Leading MIS provider Tharstern has launched its live carbon footprinting tool, in partnership with CarbonQuota. The two companies have collaborated to deliver instant carbon footprints on every quote and invoice produced by the Tharstern MIS, along with carbon offsetting costs or carbon neutral certification that the end client can choose to add to their order.

‘Carbon accounting is becoming as mainstream as cost accounting, and we are now entering an era when it is as normal to ask about the environmental footprint of goods or services as it is price,’ said Dominic Harris, co-founder of CarbonQuota. ‘With many of the world’s organisations making pledges to be net zero, the need for scientific measurement and detailed reporting of packaging and print is often a prerequisite for doing business with these organisations. So, print companies who want to be included in these supply chains will have to be able to provide details of their own carbon footprint.’

He continued, ‘Historically, print businesses often only looked at the carbon footprint of paper which accounted for about half of the total carbon footprint of the job, so we were determined that our calculations not only measured paper, but also included production, consumables, transport, postage, outwork, fulfilment and end of life, as that truly reflects the total lifecycle environmental impact of a job.’

The very first user of this new integration is Gecko, a direct marketing agency based in Leeds. The company has always been forward thinking when it comes to implementing systems and environmental standards, and has already achieved ISO accreditation 14001, 9001 and 27001, as well as being FSC certified. But the company wanted to take this a step further.

‘We are hearing more and more about the importance of reducing our carbon impact, and at Gecko we wanted to do the right thing and be part of the solution,’ said Chris Bottomley, managing director. ‘So, we decided to offer our clients the opportunity to not only calculate the carbon footprint of their jobs, but give them the chance to offset it too.’

The partnership started last year. ‘I asked CarbonQuota to calculate the footprint of two jobs we had just produced for a key client in the insurance sector,’ said Chris. ‘The results of that were a real eyeopener and led to the idea of adding the carbon footprint calculation to our quote letters, along with optional costs for offsetting it.’

The first step in the project was for CarbonQuota to carry out a carbon footprint assessment of Gecko’s operation, which took a few weeks. The data from this study was included in CarbonQuota’s database and algorithms so it was able to work out the carbon footprint of every single process within the operation, which in turn were loaded into Gecko’s Tharstern MIS. This enables CarbonQuota to calculate and apply ‘carbon emissions factors’ to every single substrate, consumable, production process and distribution stage, as well as an assessment of the carbon impact at the end of life of each job. Gecko can now use its MIS to show clients the carbon footprint of each job, offer lower carbon alternatives, and give them the chance to offset the carbon impact of that job. In fact, the offsetting can be done to the PAS2060 carbon neutral standard, which is governed in line with the latest net zero protocols.

‘The project at Gecko shows that carbon footprinting for the packaging and print sector can be automated and science based,’ said Lee Ward, chief revenue officer at Tharstern. ‘Once the assessment has been carried out by CarbonQuota and the carbon tool in Tharstern is configured, our users just continue to use the MIS in the same way – nothing changes other than the new addition to each quote and the ability to report on the company’s carbon footprint as a whole. It saves a huge amount of time and opens up superior levels of carbon measurement for our customers.

‘The carbon impact of the manufacturing sector is under enormous scrutiny right now and the print industry has a rare opportunity to demonstrate leadership in sustainability and show the wider sectors how it should be done – this solution ticks all the boxes of even the toughest customers!’


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